How long does Paxil stay in your system? 

How long does Paxil stay in your system? 

Paxil stays in your system for approximately 5 days. Paxil (Paroxetine) is an SSRI antidepressant which has an elimination half-life of about 21-24 hours. 

After this time period, the initial concentration of the drug reduces to half, which keeps reducing this way after every 21-24 hours (1). It typically takes 5 half-lives for a medication to be eliminated from your body, which indicates Paxil can take almost 5 days to leave your body completely. 

However, this time period may vary as it can depend on different factors, like your age, weight, dosage strength, frequency, duration of treatment, any underlying health condition, and overall physiological well-being. 

People with renal or hepatic insufficiency take longer to eliminate the medication and this is exactly why their doses are adjusted. Make sure you take Paxil properly and don’t stop using it without consulting your doctor first. 

Factors affecting the stay time of Paxil in your system

Several factors can influence how long Paxil (Paroxetine) stays in your system. Some of them include:

  • Dosage strength: The amount of Paxil you take can affect how long it stays in your body. Higher doses may take longer to be eliminated.
  • Duration of treatment: If you have been taking Paxil for an extended period, it may take longer for it to completely clear from your system compared to shorter-term use.
  • Metabolism: Your individual metabolism can impact how quickly your body breaks down and eliminates Paxil. Metabolism can vary from person to person.
  • Age: Age can affect the elimination of medications. Older individuals may metabolize Paxil more slowly, which can prolong its presence in the body.
  • Liver function: The liver is responsible for processing and eliminating drugs from the body. Impaired liver function may result in slower elimination of Paxil.
  • Other medications and substances: Certain medications, herbal supplements, or substances may interact with Paxil and affect its clearance from the body. It’s important to inform your healthcare provider about any other drugs or supplements you are taking.
  • Genetics: Each person’s body is unique, and factors such as genetics and overall health can impact how long Paxil stays in their system.

Never stop Paxil abruptly

It’s important not to stop taking Paxil abruptly without proper medical guidance. Suddenly discontinuing Paxil can lead to uncomfortable and potentially serious withdrawal symptoms. Here’s why it’s important to avoid stopping Paxil abruptly:

Withdrawal symptoms

When Paxil is stopped suddenly, your body may react by experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, headache, irritability, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and flu-like symptoms (2,3).

Relapse of symptoms

Stopping Paxil abruptly can sometimes cause a temporary return or worsening of the symptoms it was originally prescribed to treat. This is known as a relapse of symptoms that were being managed by Paxil.

Risk of discontinuation syndrome

Discontinuation syndrome is a specific set of symptoms that can occur when stopping certain antidepressant medications, including Paxil. It is more likely to occur if Paxil is stopped abruptly rather than gradually tapered off under medical supervision (4).

To discontinue Paxil safely, it’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider. They can create a tapering schedule that gradually reduces your dose over time. This allows your body to adjust gradually and minimizes the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

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Shrestha P, Fariba KA, Abdijadid S. Paroxetine. 2022 Jul 19. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30252278.


Peeters FP, Zandbergen J. Heftige onttrekkingsverschijnselen met koorts bij afbouw van paroxetine [Severe withdrawal symptoms with fever during paroxetine tapering off]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 1999 Jul 3;143(27):1429-31. Dutch. PMID: 10422558.


Tonks A. Withdrawal from paroxetine can be severe, warns FDA. BMJ. 2002 Feb 2;324(7332):260. doi: 10.1136/bmj.324.7332.260. PMID: 11823353; PMCID: PMC1122195.


Belloeuf L, Le Jeunne C, Hugues FC. Syndrome de sevrage à la paroxétine [Paroxetine withdrawal syndrome]. Ann Med Interne (Paris). 2000 Apr;151 Suppl A:A52-3. French. PMID: 10855379.

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